Turo Review – Better Than a Typical Car Rental Service?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Jun 27, 2019

Turo is a car-rental app you can use to rent a car from an individual or rent your own car to Turo users.

The company is unique in that its services function much like an Airbnb for rental cards, save for the fact that, in most cases, you have to meet the car’s owner in order to pick up the keys at the beginning of the rental and drop them off when the rental period concludes.

The company is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2009 by Shelby Clark, a Harvard University grad who, according to his Crunchbase profile, wanted to start a peer-to-peer car rental company. Their service is available in the United States, Canada, Germany and the U.K.

In this review, we’ll talk about how Turo works, how they calculate pricing, what type of insurance they offer and what past customers told HighYa about their experiences renting cars from Turo and renting out their own cars to Turo users.

How Turo Works

Turo foregoes the typical car-rental language and has their own terms for those renting a car, those providing their car for rental and the actual rental period:

  • The person renting the car: Guest
  • The person who is providing their car as a rental: Host
  • The rental period: Trip

Car rentals take place through the Turo app, which is available on Android and iOS phones and can take place through the Turo website. You can use the app and site to search for cars for rent in the areas you’ll be traveling. Also, you use the app to list your car if you want to provide it for trips.

In a fashion much like Airbnb, you can search for various rentals based on factors of your choosing, as well as narrowing down your search results by cars you can rent with an instant payment.

We did a quick search of cars in Jacksonville, FL, and found 111 cars ranging in year from 2008 to 2019 and ranging in price from $30 a day for a 2011 Toyota Prius to $600 a day for a 2013 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible.

You'll notice that some sellers are listed as “All-Star”, which means they’re the “top-rated, most experienced hosts” in your area, Turo notes.

Filters you can use to narrow down cards include All-Star hosts, hosts who deliver, eco-friendly cards, Business/Deluxe/Super Deluxe cars, as well as various years, makes and models.

Each listing provides the host’s name, as well as the limits they place on your trip and which insurance company they use. We clicked on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata for $39 a day to see what we could find out. The host, “Monique,” had 66 trips and a five-star rating.

She allowed free cancellation up to 24 hours before the trip and allowed 200 miles for a one-day rental. Subsequent miles beyond that would be charged at a rate of $0.24 per mile.

The listing also provides the features the car has as well as any rules for filling up the gas tank (you’re required to leave as much gas in the car as there was when you picked it up) as well as rules for cleaning, smoking and pets.

If you decide you like the car and want to rent it, you’ll click “Go to Checkout” to get a final total for your rental.

Every rental includes a “Trip Fee”, which is the fee that Turo tacks on the daily rental fee. In the case of the Sonata we looked, the fee was $9.52 on a $39 one-day rental. The fee works out to about 24% of the daily rental charge. For comparison, Airbnb will charge guests up to 20% of the rental cost.

You’ll arrange a vehicle pick-up with your host. Either they’ll deliver the car or you’ll have to go to the pre-determined pick-up spot. You’ll then take a few photos of the car to confirm its condition.

When you drop off your car, you’ll have to meet the owner unless there’s a pre-determined key drop-off spot.

For example, in interviews we did with guests who used Turo, one host provided a lockbox into which the guest could deposit keys in the event the host wasn’t home when the trip period concluded.

Turo Security Deposits

In many cases, you won’t have to pay a security deposit to get a trip with Turo. However, there are select cases, their FAQ site says, in which guests will have to pay a $250 deposit for non-luxury cars (Business/Deluxe/Super Deluxe). Turo says that about 30% of guests will have to pay this deposit.

In the U.S., guests age 25 to 29 will have to pay a $1,500 deposit to rent a Deluxe car. Guests of all ages have to pay a $1,500 deposit for Super Deluxe cars.

Turo says that they will return your deposit, barring any claims filed by the host, within 80 hours of your trip ending. They note that returned deposits going to a bank account could take up to seven days to arrive.

Deposit rules are different for Canada, Germany and the U.K.

Turo Insurance for Guests and Hosts

Turo offers hosts three levels of additional insurance you can purchase to cover the car you book for your trip in the event of an accident. These same coverages are available for hosts, too

The three tiers of insurance are:

  • Premier: Up to $1 million liability with no deductible. Covers physical damage to your car.
  • Standard: Up to $1 million liability with $500 deductible. Covers physical damage to your car.
  • Minimum: Up to state minimum for liability coverage, $3,000 deductible. Covers physical damage to your car

“Liability” refers to damages to other people and property caused by your car during a trip period. For hosts, the insurance covers bodily injury to guests and others, whereas the guest policies don’t. Also, the host policies cover uninsured motorists, whereas the guest policies don’t.

Neither the host nor the guests have to use the insurance Turo offers. If you decline it, then the benefits of your car insurance will cover applicable costs in the event of an accident. If you accept the insurance Turo offers, then that insurance is a supplement (kicks in once your primary policy’s benefits end) to your existing car insurance.

The company who provides the plans through Turo is Liberty Mutual, a company who has a good reputation among the agencies who rate the financial stability of insurance companies.

Comparing Turo Pricing to Rental Cars

As you’re shopping for a car rental, there’s a good chance you’ll want to get the best rate possible. Because we believe this is an important part of your decision to use Turo, we wanted to do some quick research on our own.

So, we researched car rentals in Jacksonville a month away from the time of publishing. We searched the cheapest Friday-to-Sunday rentals from Turo and from Priceline.com’s Jacksonville International Airport locations. Here’s what we found:

Airport rental via Priceline.com: $78.28

  • Car type: Hyundai Accent
  • Mileage allowance: Unlimited

Turo rental delivered to airport: $107.21

  • Car type: Ford Fiesta
  • Mileage allowance: 300 miles

Turo has some distinct pros and cons for guests when compared to renting a car from an agency. First, you have the benefit of walking out of the airport and getting your car because it’s delivered to you. If you choose a car rental agency, you’ll have to wait for a shuttle and then wait in line (if there is one) at the rental office.

The downsides to Turo (when compared with a traditional rental company) include the fact that many of the cars you’ll rent have a mileage limit on them. So, if your destination is, say, 100 miles from the airport into which you’re flying, that mileage limit may cause some issues.

Also, Turo will most likely cost more than an airport car rental. In this case, you’ll pay around $29 to rent from Turo. However, this isn’t the case in other cities, as we’ll point out in the Customer Reviews section of our analysis.

In the context of the rentals we listed above, we think there’s a clear decision point for you. Are the advantages Turo offers worth an extra $29 for a weekend rental? In our opinion, we think it’s worth the money if you value the most seamless rental experience possible, assuming your Turo car arrives when it should.

Keep in mind, though, that Turo is a platform for guests and hosts And, as a host, Turo basically gives you the chance to run your own car-rental company, which is a pretty unique proposition.

Whether or not it’s worth it to you is something we’ll cover in the customer reviews section, as we were able to interview someone who rented their car through Turo.

Customer Reviews of Turo

In preparation for our review, we reached out to actual Turo guests and hosts to get their opinion about the service.

Diana Chen, a Chicago resident, used Turo to book a trip two times in 2017. She said she had a positive experience both times and that both cards were in the type of condition you could expect from a rental car company.

She said the only drawback to was that one host allowed her to drop the car’s keys off in a lockbox. It took her about 20 or 30 minutes to unlock the lockbox because it was having issues opening.

In general, she said, she thinks Turo is the better choice over a rental car agency when the price is cheaper but that guests should be aware of Turo’s restrictions.

“All rules and regulations are set by the individual owner. So, one owner might limit your trip to 100 miles/day whereas another owner might give you unlimited miles. You have to read very carefully the description on each car to know what you're signing up for. This can be a lot more time consuming than booking with a large rental company like Hertz where you know what you're signing up for because it's the same thing every time,” she said.

Becky Beach, founder of MomBeach.com, told us that she travels to Boston for business frequently and, when she does, she said she is “constantly” using Turo.

She says the main benefits of Turo are that you have a wider selection of cars because the site allows hosts to post vehicles of a wider range of production dates.

“I prefer getting a Turo instead of a rental car because it is much cheaper. There is much more selection when choosing Turo because you can drive older cars, even luxury. They deliver the cars to your hotel or the airport so you don't have to worry about rental car agencies. I highly recommend Turo to all travelers who want to save money,” she said.

Chris Gwinner, general manager of Old Town Outfitters, a tour company based in Guatemala, told us that he appreciates the efficiency of Turo’s process. His most recent Turo trip took place in Atlanta this past October.

“Avoiding lines at a pickup counter and then a shuttle ride to the rental car lot and then lengthy inspection and lots of forms to sign was huge. With Turo, I exited the airport and went directly to the curb, met the car, took a few pictures and then was on my way. All payment, insurance, driver verification, etc., was done via the app prior to the rental,” he said.

The combined time it took to pick-up and drop-off his car took about 10 minutes, he said.

Comedian Dan Nainan rents out his 2018 Tesla Model 3 about three to five times a month, he told us. In total, guests have booked between 30 and 40 trips in his car.

He said the experience has been a positive one and that he’s able to cover the cost of his car payments through the trips that guests book.

“Honestly, I can’ think of anything that I would change about Turo. I’m really happy with the service. The rentals more than pay for the car payments,” he said.

He pointed out that, as a host, there’s always a fear that guests could damage his car but that the insurance Turo offers quells those fears.

Based on all the input we’ve read from first-hand customer experiences, we believe there’s a good chance you’ll have a positive experience with Turo whether you’re a guest or a host.

Reviews of the app in the Google Play and iTunes stores confirm this. Android users give the Turo app an average rating of 4.5 stars from more than 23,000 reviews, which iOS reviewers give the app 4.8 stars from more than 111,000 reviews.

The Final Word: Pros and Cons, and Who Turo Is Best For

Based on our research, we believe that Turo’s strengths are that it can offer guests an easy way to get a car at an airport, provided there are hosts who can deliver to the airport at which you’re arriving. As one of the guests we interviewed said, it can be a huge advantage to weary travelers to walk out to the curb at the airport and get your car as opposed to riding a shuttle and/or waiting in a line.

The downside to the site is that, in some cases, you may not be able to find a rental cheaper than what you could find at an airport rental location. Also, you may be paying a hefty price for a delivery charge. We checked in on the cheapest rate we could find for a rental at Newark’s airport and found a car that was about $25 per day with a delivery fee of $75.

If you’re able to ride public transportation to your Turo pickup, you could cut out the cost of a delivery fee but, again, you’d be lengthening the time between when you’re ready for the car and when you actually get it.

Another possible drawback relates to the cost of insurance. We weren’t able to get a quote for the insurance coverage cost from Turo’s partnership with Liberty Mutual. As a point of comparison, though, Priceline’s insurance costs $11 but provides a maximum benefit of $35,000, which is significantly less than Turo’s $1 million coverage.

Now, with normal car rental agencies, you could forego the insurance the agency offers in favor of car rental insurance included on your credit card. However, your credit card may not offer car rental insurance for Turo. We called Chase’s benefit center and the representative told us that Chase does not offer their car rental insurance for Turo.

So, if your car insurance policy doesn’t cover rentals then you’ll either have to rent the car without any insurance or pay for Liberty Mutual’s insurance through Turo.

As for who we think this service is good for, we believe Turo presents some distinct advantages for both guests and hosts. If you need a rental in a city with high rental prices, Turo could offer a cheaper option. Even if a Turo tip is more than a car rental agency, the Turo option may still be more interesting to you because of the potential to get your car delivered to the airport.

We believe the greatest strengths of this service lie with hosts, especially those who work from home and don’t need to drive to work, or you have a great public transportation system that you can use in lieu of a car.

If this is you, then we think Turo’s service could be an excellent way for you to earn some money on the side. If you’re in a city where you can demand a considerable fee for your car, there’s a good chance you could earn enough to cover your car payments every month, much in the same way renting your home through Airbnb could coverage you mortgage costs.

But, keep in mind that you’ll most likely need to pay for insurance to cover your car, factor that cost in your pricing. Also, be smart about the mileage limitation you place on the car. Being too restrictive could scare away potential guests but being too liberal with your mileage allowance could cause undue wear and tear on your car.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of Turo:
  • 1018 Customer Reviews
  • 80% Recommend This Company
4.2 out of 5
5 star: 72% 4 star: 6% 3 star: 2% 2 star: 2% 1 star: 16%

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  • Do not use Turo

    • By Ahmet,
    • Houston,
    • Jun 2, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Do not trust Turo. They charged me for a damage although I returned the vehicle in the same condition. I asked them for any evidence but they did not respond. Be careful.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Awful Customer Service

    • By Casey D.,
    • Nashville, TN,
    • Jun 27, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    After inquiring about Turo, setting up an account, sending in three pictures of my photo identification, verifying my account via SMS text message, and entering in my credit card information, I was declined membership without a specific reason. There was no reason as to why, as they said I didn't “meet their criteria.” What criteria could that be? Someone will and able to pay a company for the use of cars? If there was a zero star option, i would have chosen it.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Bad for car owners

    • By Natalie,
    • Chicago ,
    • Jun 21, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Car owners stay away. I had few cars that I wanted to make money on. When they were smaller it was easy to communicate, all claims were paid. Now one of my cars is stolen and no one does anything about it, second car has scratches all over my bumper that they don't want to pay for, the other one has a 2 inch dent on the door and because it's less than 3 inches they refused to cover it as well. Poor customer service in claims department makes it hard.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Never again!

    • By Nikki Post,
    • Chicago, IL,
    • Jul 3, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    This company will try to scam you any way that they can. I was charged for an airport delivery that I never received and a ticket that was on the car before I got there. They refused to help me with this and the customer service was absolutely terrible. I will never use this company again. They will scam you!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Turo is inconsiderate of Community

    • By Susan D,
    • California,
    • Jul 14, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    You might think that car sharing is a great idea. That is, until the owner of a fleet of 10+ cars decides to use your residential parking area to park their cars.

    Turo doesn't care because they don't own the cars and they don't care where their renters park their cars (as long as they make money). They don't care that local laws are being broken (rental cars may not be stored on city streets in our city). We are simply unfortunate enough to live close to the airport, and it would take a full-time parking enforcement officer to deal with this all day long.

    They could solve this in a minute by shutting down the account of the offender, but I guess that would cause them to lose money. Well, you know, Turo, sometimes it takes a little sacrifice to be a good community member. I will never use your service and I will discourage anyone from using this service at every opportunity that I get.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Expensive and awful customer service.

    • By Alfie Thomas,
    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Jul 28, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I used Turo to rent a car. The insurance rate pushed by Turo is over 25 dollars a day (like 10,000 a year) and covers nothing. The deductible is $3500. Thanks God I did not need it.

    But, they will get money out of your credit card for anything. I had a transponder for any toll fees in the car. Apparently, I did not work at one toll bridge plaza. It would have been an easy fix with one call to the bridge authority as this happens. However, Turo jumped to the opportunity and used the credit card on file to pay fines and administrative fees. They would not give an opportunity to fix the ticket because they wanted to make money out it. At the end, I paid close to seventy dollars on fees.

    The cost of the rental car? Three times as it would have been without Turo taking advantage of my credit card on file. Needless to say, I cancel the credit card as I cannot have people like them knowing my account information.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Terrible experience with Turo.

    • By Cameron,
    • Min,
    • Jul 31, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Renting from Turo has been one of the most negative experiences I've ever had with a travel company.

    I rented from them for five days and on my way to return the car, got a chip in the windshield. I reported the damage and fully expected to pay about $350 for a new windshield. A few days after I reported it, I got an email from them saying there were going to charge me $500 towards the damage initially and follow up once they received an estimate. Than I got an email saying the estimate was $1000 (for a new windshield) and they were going to automatically charge my credit card.

    I called their customer service and they gave me a number direct to the claim agent. Not surprisingly, her mailbox was full, she never answered and every time I called, she was "in a meeting". Included in the damage estimate was $150 worth of processing costs, seriously?

    I will never use Turo again under any circumstances and would advise anyone against using them. So disappointing.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Total insurance scam in my opinion!

    • By Natalia,
    • Chicago, IL,
    • Jul 31, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Recently purchased a clean title Honda Civic 2016 and put it on the app.

    I chose the basic insurance plan that claims to cover any damage up to 1 million (turo charges 25% for that)..So I felt safe...

    The first trip was long from from July 3 to July 19. I was happy that I will make some money on it. Hpwever, long story short, I received my brand new vehicle in a horrible condition, all seats were stained it smelled like someone smoked the entire time in the car.

    In the morning I took it to a car wash. After the car came back from a wash I saw a huge dent on a left side and the sunroof was popped open. I double checked pictures that renter submitted after the trip and found out that they occurred at the time of the trip.

    So I immediately submitted a claim.

    Turo got back to me few days after asked for pictures, then they disappeared.So I reached out to them. Their answer was a total surprise. They said that the car is not eligible for coverage! So it was eligible when they charged me all this money and now it's just what it is.

    Their claim department doesn't have any direct line so good luck with reaching them. Claim specialist Tiffany, doesn't know how to read Carfax reports. It's just so upsetting. So the ending of a story, I make $528 Turo made $176 just on me plus what they charge the renter and I lost $1200.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Turo rental broken into and I'm to blame

    • By Ashley,
    • San Fransisco, CA,
    • Aug 11, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I was looking forward to renting a car through Turo. I had heard good things and was thrilled to use something other than a traditional car rental company. I rented a Mini Cooper in San Francisco. On the first night of my trip the car was broken into and all of our luggage was stolen (including mac books, cameras, and all of our clothing). We notified the car owner right away and he was very understanding. I stayed up until 2:00am reading Turo's terms and conditions and found that just to submit a claim I would be charged a $500 deposit (that it sure sounded like I wouldn't be getting back).

    So I reached out to my insurance and they covered 80% of the costs. At this time the car owner submitted a claim. His insurance is through Turo and he was very happy to report there would be no fees (to him, they even go so far to infer to him that I wouldn't be charged either).

    That's when I started speaking with a Turo employee who informed me though my insurance had already covered 80% of fees I would still be charged the $500 "deposit". Low and behold that deposit would cover the car owners deductible, BIG SHOCK the Turo deductible is $500.

    I was robbed, my insurance covered the majority of a $400 repair, and somehow I still walked away spending $500. This is an absolute scam. Do not use Turo.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Poor customer service

    • By Jared,
    • San Diego, CA,
    • Aug 18, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Very legit company but just hope nothing goes wrong. The customer service support often take over 2 business days to address issues and concerns. Very big hole in the administration that will prove costly to the organization in the long run.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Be aware! Turo membership declined. Great driving record over 25 years.

    • By Joe,
    • New York,
    • Sep 17, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Don't waste your time with the application as they denied my application for no reason, and do not release the details of these decisions.

    "Turo has carefully reviewed your application and has made the final decision to not move forward with your membership. Turo does not release the details of these decisions, due to their proprietary nature."

    Proprietary nature?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


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